Monday, February 29, 2016
Schadenfreude Tinged With Fear As The GOP Devolves Into The Party Of Trump
Trump's obtuse response to Duke's warning to European Americans that a vote against Trump is "really treason to your heritage" was just one highlight from a week that included his threats to sue the media that showed a frightening misunderstanding of the First Amendment and tweets that proudly quoted his obvious role model, Benito Mussolini.
Despite the faux outrage from Rubio and Cruz about the Duke endorsement, both indicated they would nevertheless support Trump if he were to win the Republican nomination. Sure he may be a mean-spirited, megalomaniacal racist clown, but he is a Republican and that's good enough for them.
It has been enormously satisfying to watch the endangered species formerly known as mainstream Republicans freaking out as they belatedly realize that their Party has been taken over by a vulgar talking yam, as Charles Pierce has brilliantly dubbed him. They act as if Trump came out of nowhere, as if the anti-intellectual, anti-government, boorish, jingoistic demagoguery spewed by Bush/Cheney and then VP-candidate Sarah Palin and now Trump isn't all of a piece. They remain blithely unaware that they have enabled and capitalized on the irrational and racially-inspired Obama hatred, Tea Party craziness and knee-jerk obstruction that has consumed the Republicans these past seven years, leaving them with a great big pile of shit that a growing number of their constituents think is ambrosia.
Meanwhile, their last, great hope to defeat Trump is Marco Rubio, who, let's not forget is a Tea Partier himself. They are vainly trying to prop up this incredible political lightweight who has so little to work with that he is resorting to juvenile jokes about Trump wetting his pants during the last debate and insinuating how Trump's small hands reflect on his manhood.
It is mostly fun, but more than a little bit scary, to think about what will happen if Trump wins the nomination. Hopefully it would motivate and inspire Democrats, Independents and most sentient beings to get out the vote to defeat him. Even the most diehard Hillary-haters and Nader deadenders could not possibly underestimate the unmitigated danger of a Trump Presidency.
And the Republicans? Will the Party establishment get in line and reluctantly support Trump as the perceived lesser of evils? Surely many will, although not with either the enthusiasm or unanimity a party's candidate would hope for. And an unraveling of what has long been -- particularly in contrast to the Democrats -- a cohesive, consistent political structure could be devastating. Think about how the Trump and the Republican establishment will reach consensus on a party platform. More importantly, there are several vulnerable Republican Senate candidates running in blue and purplish states. Will they campaign alongside their Party's nominee and possibly alienate independents and more moderate (rational) conservatives or will they endeavor to keep Trump at a respectful -- or disrespectful distance. Either way, it is sure to be a painfully awkward dance and provides the Democrats with a golden opportunity to win back the Senate as well as the Presidency -- and then let the Republicans try to block a Supreme Court nominee. (But I'm getting way ahead of myself)
Watching the Republican Party implode and become the Party of Trump is like watching a spectacular, but slow-moving train wreck. It is grotesque but at the same time it is hard to turn away. The ultimate question, as it screeches off the rails and crashes into a fiery mess, is whether it will destroy just the Republican Party or take the whole country down with it.